Get Your Playground Design Right

FamilyKids & Teens

  • Author Pete Tooley
  • Published May 11, 2011
  • Word count 433

Children tell it like it is and getting them to love something can be a struggle, if you are spending money on a child's playground or you have playground funding, you need to make sure that the design is going to be well received, there are a few ways you can ensure you get the right playground equipment and keep the kid's active and enjoying themselves.

Firstly you need to define the age group the playground is going to be for, tall climbing frames and aerial runways are not going to inspire children between the ages of 2 and 5 and like wise small playhouses and springy animals are not going to get the thumbs up from a group of nine year olds who want to climb and use traverse equipment and possibly use the BMX track next door. If you envisage the playground to be used by a mixed age range, consider separating the areas by an invisible line, with playground equipment designated by age range to a specific area, this will ensure pre-schoolers are out of harms way and older children and not landing on top of little ones.

The second area is the location and ensuring you have enough room, if the space for the playground is relatively small, you should dismiss equipment such as swings, as these require safe swing zones around them, also if using aerial equipment the space underneath cannot be utilised for any other activity. It might be worth looking at school playground equipment to see how schools use space and of course they have minimal budgets, this means you can see how space and budget may constrain you or inspire you.

If the space you have is quite small then consider using multi play areas, these incorporate many attributes children love and you can have numerous children playing on the same piece of equipment. Many of the features of this type of playground equipment is a main structure such as a fort or playhouse and from this HQ there are a variety of play areas from slides, balance and traverse fun plus climbing walls and children's favourites, tunnels.

There are some great playground designers who can give you valuable advice in how to make your playground ideas come to fruition. They have many years experience of how children interact with playground equipment and they are used to working with tight budgets, this means you are more likely to get the most out of the space you have. They are also probably able to give you advice on funding options for your park or school playground equipment project.

Written by Pete Tooley, a former teacher who now designs outdoor play areas for schools using eco-friendly school playground equipment. The use of outdoor classrooms can have amazing results and a opens up a whole a new way of teaching.

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